Northerners don’t understand cornbread. We turn it into a dessert. A sweet cake instead of a savory bread. And then we serve it with supper. I admit that some of the sweetened cornbreads are good, but they should be called corn cake, and served as dessert with some roasted fruit or ice cream.
But imagine if that sweetened cornbread were turned into a cookie, a legitimate dessert. A delicious, buttery, chewy-centered, crisp-edged cookie. This is that cookie. It is surprisingly good. After our first bite, we were unsure but by the last bite we were 100% positive we had found a delicious recipe. These manage to be both unusual and familiar at the same time. I think they would be best showcased alongside a dish of buttermilk ice cream, unfortunately I was too lazy to make the ice cream. Next time.
This recipe comes from the excellent Paley’s Place Cookbook by Vitaly and Kimberly Paley. In addition to containing lots of wonderful recipes, the book is a good read and very beautifully photographed. It is an inspiring addition to any cookbook collection. It also makes me want to move to Portland, although everything has been making me want to move to Portland lately.
Apricot, Sage, and Cornmeal Cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running, add the egg, mix to incorporate, and scrape once more.
In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda and salt and add to the mixer along with the cornmeal. Mix on low speed until just combined. Add the apricots and sage and mix to combine. (Don’t worry if the dough is slightly sticky.) Shape it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours.
Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper greased with nonstick vegetable spray.
Pinch off pieces of dough the size of large marbles and roll them into balls. Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet to allow the cookies to spread. Bake until light golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
*** Generally speaking, I like my baked goods a little darker than the average person. I cooked the second batch of these until they were solid golden brown around the edges and liked them even better.